Liberty to get facelift in 12m restoration plans

Liberty, the luxury central London department store, is to undergo a 12m facelift. New plans focus on restoration instead of expansion, as had originally been planned.

McColl Landmark was carrying out work on a 30m refurbishment programme for the building until March 1998. But the ousting of former chairman Denis Cassidy in December 1997 led to extensive, and almost completed, plans for the 8361m2 store being shelved by the new board.

Any changes to the Grade II listed building in Great Marlborough Street will have to be approved by English Heritage before work can begin on site.

Elspeth Henderson from English Heritage describes the plans as “fairly major internal modelling works”, but says they have not yet been officially submitted.

“We are having ongoing discussions with Liberty about planned changes and we will probably receive the application within the next few weeks,” she says. Henderson expects refurbishment to cost “in the order of 12m”.

A Liberty spokesman confirms that “a number of people have been appointed to the project”, though he is unable to reveal further details. He will not name any design consultancies involved. “It is a listed building, so details go hand in hand with discussions with English Heritage,” he says.

McColl Landmark founder Stewart McColl was unavailable for comment.

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